ARSENAL CRITIQUE WAS A WASTED OPPORTUNITY
Austin Williams' review of the new Arsenal stadium (14.07.05) tells only half the story, apparently the half supplied by the Arsenal press office. Far from there being 'only two houses compulsorily purchased', there were enough compulsory purchase orders to necessitate a major public inquiry. The independent inspector found unequivocally that there was not sufficient justification for the orders and recommended that they be withdrawn.
His ruling was hastily overturned by the ODPM. One of the most controversial aspects of the Arsenal development was the moving of a huge waste-transfer station into the heart of the residential area, bringing with it stigma and smells (the latter now officially acknowledged by council officers). In a cynical piece of social engineering, Arsenal and its architects are seeking to hide this shameful station by wrapping it in housing for key workers.
Surely the image of nurses and teachers with their backs, quite literally, up against a wall of waste is a more compelling example of the intersection of people, politics and place than William's niceties about sightlines for season ticket seats?
Professor Jeremy Till, director of architecture, University of Sheffield